Cookbook review: Heritage meets humor in a modern kitchen

‘I Could Nosh: Classic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day’ by Jake Cohen (Harvest, $35)
"I Could Nosh: Classic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day" by Jake Cohen (Harvest, $35)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

"I Could Nosh: Classic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day" by Jake Cohen (Harvest, $35)

When I first turned to the preface of the newly released “I Could Nosh: Classic Jew-ish Recipes Revamped for Every Day” (Harvest, $35), I nearly spewed my coffee. On the opposite page is a portrait of the author posing behind his kitchen counter, holding a half-eaten brownie and grinning ear to ear, revealing a glob of chocolate stuck to his front teeth.

I’ve flipped to it multiple times since, and it cracks me up every time.

That self-deprecating sense of humor won’t be lost on anyone who follows Jake Cohen on TikTok or Instagram, or who owns a copy of his New York Times bestselling debut, “Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes From A Modern Mensch.” It’s as much a part of his viral appeal as the gleaming loaf of braided challah perched on the cutting board before him. A step-by-step tutorial follows, updated from his last book, with variations that include a challah-wrapped hot dog called Moses in a Blanket.

As the title implies, there are plenty of snacking ideas within, including 10 schmears for bagels, Kugel Fries, and the scarfable Watermelon and Feta Tartines I recently made for our condo floor’s weekly cocktail get-together.

But there’s so much more: breakfast foods, soups, salads, sandwiches, under-an-hour dinners, leftover makeovers and plenty of sweets — with laugh-out-loud stories and witticisms sprinkled throughout.

As Cohen explains, “I could nosh” is the “only acceptable response” when any Jewish mother asks if you are hungry. By that definition, it makes sense that he’d also include Jake’s Lentil Stew (“so delicious that everyone’s going to want to sell their birthright for a bowl”), Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Green Beans and One Pot Mashed Potatoes (“my Rachael Ray spin on Ina Garten date night”), and Caramelized Honey Bundt Cake for Rosh Hashanah or “to sugarcoat every season.”

Each represents a piece of Cohen’s authentic self which he shares joyfully with all who are hungry, whether, as he puts it, “you’re Jewish, Jew-ish, or not Jewish at all.”

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at

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